Executive Chef James Siao of Finch & Fork is gearing up for his second Chefs Cycle, where he’ll ride alongside other culinary greats to raise awareness and funds for No Kid Hungry. The 300-mile ride down the coast of California will start in Carmel on June 27, and end in Santa Barbara on June 29. Chefs Cycle is a fundraising endurance event featuring award-winning chefs fighting hunger outside the kitchen. In an effort to put an end to childhood hunger, riders are being asked to raise money for their ride. The community can get involved and participate in Chef Siao’s ride by ordering one of the special dishes and cocktails on Finch & Fork’s menu. A portion of the proceeds from these designated dishes will go towards Chef Siao’s $7,500 goal.

In addition to Chef Siao, folks can also visit Outpost restaurant in Goleta, where General Manager Joseph Adamczak is riding for team Kimpton. Outpost will also be offering special dishes and donating a portion of the proceeds to team Kimpton’s fundraising page at tinyurl.com/kimptonteam. For more on Chef Siao’s personal fundraising efforts visit tinyurl.com/teamsiao. For more information on the west coast Chefs Cycle, visit chefscycle.org.

160602-GroupChefsCycleLocal Chef  James Siao (front row, third from right) and other riders stop at The Lark in Santa Barbara in 2015 as part of the Chef Cycle fundraiser.

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Pascucci Restaurant at 729 State Street has raised more than $7,000 for the Solstice Parade as part of their 16th annual Celebrity Dine-out Event held on May 5th.

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Hollister Village shopping center in Goleta, the recent home to Smart & Final, has welcomed a new tenant: Zizzo’s Coffeehouse & Brew Pub at 7060 Hollister Avenue which had a soft opening last week. This is the third location for Zizzo’s which has two outlets nearby on Storke Road, including one inside Ice in Paradise. Coffee and beer are available now (6 local beers on tap, to be increased to 10) and the full menu will be available soon including nachos, a pub burger, breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and more. When Zizzo’s is fully up to speed they will be open daily 6 a.m.-11 p.m.

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Originally opened in 2002 by Dana Walters at 211 Helena Avenue in the Funk Zone, Reds might be singing the Blues, though nothing I have heard is definitive. Here are a few pieces of the puzzle: Readers George and Richie tell me the business is closing. Reader Mitchell says Reds has been sold to The Good Lion at 1212 State Street and will reopen in a month. Reader Olivia says she was there recently and spoke to Walters and was told that Reds is closing Memorial weekend. Reader Jonathan says that he heard that Reds is going to be closing and reopening as some type of new format tiki bar. The only thing I know for sure is that the name of the ABC applicant posted in front of Reds is “Test Pilot Cocktails LLC.”

Update: Reliable sources tell me that Reds will indeed become a tiki bar owned by The Good Lion.



Reader Brendan, Wade, and Shelby passed word that China Pavilion at 1202 Chapala Street is closed for remodeling until June 6th. Owner Shannon tells me that after 8 years in business Crushcakes Cafe at 1315 Anacapa Street has finished remodeling. They have expanded the dining room and made it easier to order with just one counter.  Wi-Fi is available and Crushcakes is serving their full menu of breakfast, lunch, coffee bar and cupcakes all day, every day.

crushCrushcakes in Santa Barbara recently completed a remodel


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Outpost at the Goodland (5650 Calle Real in Goleta) has selected a new chef to lead the eatery. Chef de Cuisine Nick Bajal will helm the heart of the restaurant after working as Outpost’s Executive Sous Chef since 2015. A Midwestern chef who likes to push the culinary limits, Bajal  new menu features Braised Pork Belly with shaved white asparagus, green curry purée and peanuts, Roasted Bone Marrow with salmon rillettes and cilantro chimichurri, and Pan Roasted Rock Fish with maitake mushrooms, sunflower seed-kumquat relish, crème fraîche and sprouts.

The Belmond El Encanto (800 Alvarado Place) has announced the appointment of Johan Denizot as Executive Chef. Denizot is French born, raised, and trained. Denizot garnered nearly a decade of culinary experience before beginning his successful career in the United States, where he launched the pastry and bakery program at Annabelle’s Bar & Bistro in San Francisco. Denizot went on to implement creative menus and elevate the overall level of cuisine and plate presentation at Alisal Guest Ranch’s Root 246, and most recently Miro at Bacara Resort & Spa, where I am told that he was instrumental in the restaurant earning its Forbes Four-Star rating.

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The Burger Bus first rolled out onto the streets of Santa Barbara 7 years ago. Owners Michael and  Cheryl Gardner sent me an update about the business:

“We wanted to give you the lowdown on how we have changed things up and what direction we are taking as we roll into our 8th year of business. We have expanded the burger menu on The Bus to include some more delicious options.  As always, we still offer a great pulled pork and amazing Falafel!  We have increased our full scale catering (2 – 200+, just ask!) and added several options to our appetizers, sides and salads.  As well, we are now able to offer made-to-order food on a small scale at private events with our new Cart. We are still maintaining our usual high standards utilizing Shalhoob meats, Mamas Preserves, The Berry Man produce and Melrose bakery.” Visit theburgerbus.com.



This just in from reader Annie:

“Hi, John, I went to Globe at 18 East Cota Street last night and there are some cool changes there. A few tables and chairs have replaced some of the lounge furniture so there’s room for lots more people. It looks like they needed it – the place was crowded! There is a nice patio in the back and a quiet spot upstairs. Long-time local bar guy Andy Davis is managing and behind the bar. We had great food and drinks.”

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Reader John Paul says Café 154 at 4151 Foothill Road has reopened, but only offering snacks and drinks for now, no sandwiches yet. Reader Cris sent me a press-release: “Café 154 announces its grand reopening with new manager, Chef Brenda Simon. The café offers fresh casual fare with a focus on healthy, locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Menu items include made-from-scratch favorites such as sandwiches, healthy wraps, pressed juices and freshly baked breads, cupcakes and pastries. Our grab-and-go counter offers diners delicious, healthy options with swift, friendly service.”

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Reader Steve H. tells me that Nona’s Deli, coming to 415 East De la Guerra Street (formerly the  Italian Market, which moved to 210 West Carrillo Street and is now named Tino’s Italian Grocery) is at long last almost ready to open. Steve thinks they will open in a week or two. He adds that they are stocking the shelves now and will now have indoor dining space.



Readers Christie, Bob & Annie tell me that long-time Isla Vista restaurant The Cantina at 966 Embarcadero Del Mar has a sign up for a Public Notice of Application For Ownership Change. It says that it will be replaced by a place called Dumpling King. The transition might begin in June.

cantinaPhoto by Christie



Reader Shelby tells me that Sushi Café at 28 West Figueroa Street now has a sign that says the business has been renamed Sushi Café Poke Bar.

sushicafePhoto by Shelby



Reader Primetime tells me that a business named Honor Market opens this week next to the Honor Bar at 1255 Coast Village Road in Montecito.

honorPhoto by Primetime



The first two tenants at The Waterline, a commercial mixed-use project at 116-122 Santa Barbara Street in the Funk Zone, have opened for business. Nook by Master Chef Norbert Schulz, and Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop started serving customers earlier this week. It’s been 35 years since Master Chef Norbert Schulz and his long-time business partner, Brigitte Guehr, first opened a restaurant in Santa Barbara and Nook, is their latest creation. Housed in a blue shipping container, Nook has an order window and a pickup window and buzzers to let you know when your food is ready. The menu includes Blackened Rockfish Soft Tacos $14, Maine Lobster & Shrimp Albondigas Sandwich $16, Pretzel & Beer-Battered Fried Shrimp $13, House-Made Bratwurst $12, Chicken Sausage $12, Duck Foie Gras Burger $18, Nook Burger $14, Waterline Seafood Burger $15, Purple Potato Waffle & Fried Chicken $14, Dungeness Crab Cakes $14, Grilled Iron Steak Sandwich $17, Grilled Salmon Salad $16, Lobster Mac ‘N Cheese $16, and Tempura Soft Shell Crab Sandwich $18. Nook is open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Nook shares space with Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop. Alex Hart, the Lama’s “beermonger,” tells me that the business has a bunch of beers on tap and that they have an exponentially greater number of bottles that are available for consumption onsite or to-go. Small and large format bottles are available. Owner Pete Burnham began his career by spending countless hours climbing barrel stacks, analyzing fermentations, and bottling cases of wine. He was just like any other “cellar rat”, doing grunt work at one of the many wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley in order to gain experience and start making a name for himself in this tight-knit winemaking community. Soon thereafter, he landed an assistant winemaking job at Carr Winery and was given the opportunity to make his own wine on the side using Carr’s land and equipment. He became intrigued by the ever-growing craft beer culture that had started exploding around 2010. At the time, he says he was shocked to realize that Santa Barbara didn’t have any truly good, diverse beer concepts and he soon after made it his mission to fill that void. His answer: Lama Dog Tap Room & Bottle Shop, named for Pete’s lovable and enormous Tibetan Mastiff, Lama (named for fellow Tibetan, the Dalai Lama). Lama Dog is open Sunday-Wednesday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight.

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For regular readers of this column you might have just experienced Déjà vu. A few weeks ago I wrote that at Phamous Café, a sign was up and that people were frequenting the business. It turns out those “customers” were just construction crew. The real deal happened last week when Phamous Cafe opened at 7127 Hollister Avenue Suite 25 in Goleta next to Albertsons, in the space formerly occupied by Quiznos Sub. I stopped by and the place was busy with people enjoying Vietnamese food. I tried their Bánh mì sandwich and it was terrific. They bake their bread fresh in-house every day. All the meat, Pâté and other assorted offerings are also fresh. Phamous Café is open daily 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily and closed on Tuesdays.


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Smart & Final has opened at 3943 State Street, the former home of Albertsons, and Haggen (for about 3 seconds).



Readers Cathy, Steve H., and Primetime report that coffee with some art, a surfing vibe, and healthy bites is now being served up in the newest business at 711 Chapala Street in called “Breakfast.”  I am told that there are many fresh, organic and locally made side choices for someone looking for an energy bar, bagel or a cookie. For the most part the business is a place to show art and clothes. Visit breakfastcultureclub.com

breakfastPhoto by Primetime



A new French restaurant named Le Petit Bistrot has opened at 532 State Street, the former home of Verde and Zia Cafe.  “We are opening a French restaurant with authentic French food with good old recipes from France,” says owner Salvatore Italiano, a native of France. Le Petit Bistrot offers an extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, available on their web site lepetitbistrotsb.com.

In the restaurant itself they have what might be the nicest menus I have ever seen; each is like a fancy coffee table book with descriptions and photos. The quality of the menu mirrors the care taken during the remodeling of the building where everything is new and top of the line. Le Petit Bistrot offers a French and American breakfast where lunch and dinner includes soups, salads, sandwiches, a French burger, steak frites, veal, pork and much more. The signature dish at Le Petit Bistrot is the seafood pasta. Another item Italiano pointed out is a pork dish named Jarret Braise a la Biere with braised pork knuckle and bier sauce.

The restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.,m. with a brunch is available on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Le Petit Bistrot is closed on Mondays. They will have a full liquor license which should be finalized a few days after opening and will include French and local wines. A grand opening is planned for June. Call 845-3488 or visit lepetitbistrotsb.com. Thanks to readers Laura and Wade for the tips.

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Here is a message to you from Aparna Sherman, co-owner/manager of Nectar restaurant at 20 East Cota Street (formerly Blue Agave):

“Hi John, I am writing to inform you that Nectar is opening for lunch in June. And it will be called the Curry House at Nectar – featuring healthy Indian foods, salads and chai. The concept and menu is created by me, Aparna Sherman. I am an Indian born private chef and cookbook author. A former chef of the Chopra Center for Well-Being in San Diego, I’ve been cooking for private clients for nine years in Santa Barbara. The food will be served through our kitchen window and we will open up the downstairs for people for to dine in. We will have a rotating menu of five curries and some Indian desserts as well. “

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This just in from reader Wade: “At the complex located at 715 Chapala Street it appears that a new dining/eatery will be opening alongside Kanaloa Seafood. Above the large door a sign ‘Breakfast’ has been painted on the building.” Thanks also to reader Cathy for the tip.

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A new late-night restaurant named Little Kitchen, part owned by, and next door to Wildcat bar & club, has opened at 17 West Ortega Street, the former home of Nardonnes La Famiglia Pizzeria. The menu, available from 11 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. includes Southwest Chicken Tikka Masala, Loaded Pub Fries, Bangkok Street Fries, Philly Cheese Steak, Banh Mi Sliders, Fench Toast Bites, Brioche Breakfast Sandwich and Cheeseburger Egg Rolls. Little Kitchen is open Friday – Sunday and will offer lunch and dinner I the near future. Thanks to reader Cathy for the tip.

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Last month I wrote that construction for a restaurant is underway at the Lighthouse on Cabrillo Boulevard, formerly Rusty’s Pizza. Michael Martz from Haynes Commercial Group offers some details: “John, They are rebuilding the property and adding a 2nd story that will have a beautiful balcony with fantastic views of the waterfront. We will be delivering restaurant shell to a new tenant and are actively marketing the space for a qualified operator.”

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The restaurant property at 30 Los Patos Way, currently the Montecito Event Center and previously known as Café del Sol, has been purchased by the founder of the famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles. Milt and Arlene Larsen purchased the property and have announced long-term plans to transform it into an offshoot of the Magic Castle. For the time being, the property will continue to operate as the Montecito Event Center. Mr. Larsen founded the Magic Castle in Los Angeles in the 1960s with his late brother Bill Jr. Steve Hayes and Michael Martz of Hayes Commercial Group represented the seller, and Joe Parker of the Santa Barbara Group represented the buyer in the transaction.

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Reader Primetime let me know that construction has started at 7 East Anapamu Street, the former home of Arts & Letters Cafe. Word on the street is that a new restaurant will be moving in.

alPhoto by Primetime



Miramar Group, a local commercial real estate investment, development, management and brokerage firm, has announced the upcoming completion of the Waterline, a multi-tenant, commercial mixed use project in the Funk Zone. The Waterline is located in 10,000+ sq. ft. of industrial warehouse space at 116-122 Santa Barbara Street.

Once completed Waterline tenants will include Topa Topa Brewing Co., the Nook by Master Chef Norbert Schulz, Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop, Blair Fox Cellars, Fox Wine Co. and The Guilded Table artisan collective. The first phase of the Waterline – including the Nook restaurant and Lama Dog Tap Room and Bottle Shop – is set to open in late May of 2016, the second phase – Topa Topa Brewing Co., Blair Fox Cellars, Fox Wine Co. and the Guilded Table artisan collective – set to follow later this summer.

“We’re extremely excited to be a part of the Funk Zone’s continuing revitalization,” notes Miramar Group founding partner John Goodman. “Our goal with the Waterline is to create not just a Funk Zone landmark for visiting patrons, but a real community gathering place. Somewhere you can come and meet your neighbor while you enjoy everything the property has to offer.” Visit waterlinesb.com.

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Petit Valentien restaurant at 1114 State Street will have no corkage fee Monday-Thursday from now through August.

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Reader Marianne sent a tip that Kevin Vander Vliet and his wife, owners of Enjoy Cupcakes, have just opened a new hot dog place named The Doggy Door in Los Olivos. It is located at 2446 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Suite D (inside the water tower). Visit doggydoordogs.com.




Reader Wade tells me that there is a new business named Le Macaron coming soon 819A Paseo Nuevo, (formerly Chocolate Opulence), featuring French Pastries. Le Macaron is next to Sushi Tyme. Reader Cathy says Le Macaron opens Thursday May 5th and my call to the business confirmed it.




Readers Cris and Dick passed word that the web page for Sprouts Farmers Market has announced an opening date of July 27, 2016 for the new Goleta location at 175 North Fairview Avenue, the former home of Haggen (for about 3 seconds) and Vons. I’m told that the page also lists the services the store will offer including Olive Bar, Deli Catering Trays, Fresh Sushi, Juice Bar, Salad Bar, Sandwich Bar, and Coffee Bar.




Reader Tyler let me know that Copenhagen Sausage Garden has opened at 1660 Copenhagen Drive in Solvang. Visit csg-solvang.com.

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